Triumph TR3A (p131), Aston DB7 Vantage Volante (p132), Mini Cooper S (p135), Triumph TR5 (p136)
This engineer-restored left-hooker is very well detailed, drives flawlessly and looks excellent value, says Russ Smith
This TR started life as an American market car. Repatriated some years ago, it was bought as a retirement project by a former Perkins Diesel engineer. There is a photographic record of all the work carried out – a full body-off, nut-and-bolt project. The one job that wasn’t carried out was to convert the steering to right-hand drive, but as these TRS are so narrow, from the driver’s seat it hardly matters.
The car has hardly been driven since the restoration was completed – and just eight miles since the latest MOT was carried out in January – so it still looks sharp. There are no flaws in the even British Racing Green paint, and the panel fit and finish is spot-on. Even the alloy trim strips between the wings and the bodyshell look new and are so far untarnished. Racey mesh stoneguards on the correct Lucas P700 ‘tripod’ headlamps are a nice touch and the rest of the brightwork is good, perhaps apart from the screen surround which might benefit from more of a polish.
The hood and sidescreens are in similarly good order to the body. Likewise, the wheels have been painted to a high standard, show no kerbing marks, and wear new-looking chrome hubcaps with excellent Triumph ‘world’ badges. The only downside is the tyres, which may be a throwback to the car’s pre-restoration days. The CEATS on the front have good tread, with only slightly less on the Uniroyals at the rear, but the sidewalls of the latter are starting to crack. It would be wise to budget for a new set in the near future.
One glance at the interior tells you it was redone not long ago. It’s all very well executed and hasn’t strayed from standard spec – there isn’t even a radio. Trimming has been done in grey leather, which was an option to the standard-fit vinide Rexine when new. If we are to be picky, there seems to be more than the usual amount of lateral ‘wobble’ in the driver’s seat base springing, and the fore-aft adjustment in the repainted runners is a bit sticky.
Under the bonnet all is very well indeed, much as the factory intended. It’s nice to see details like the AC air filter housings in correct satin black finish rather than over-restored in a gloss finish. They also wear the correct decals and there’s a properly stamped repro chassis plate on the bulkhead. It is believed the cylinder head has been gas-flowed and it wears a riveted-on ‘SAH Accessories Conversion’ tag. A couple of rubber fuel pipes show some cracking, but it is only minor.
The car feels livelier than other TR3AS I’ve driven, and drives flawlessly, including operation of the overdrive. Oil pressure sits at 75psi at speed, dropping to 60psi at idle.
This looks like one of those opportunities to take advantage of someone else’s hard work. You certainly couldn’t buy a project and have it restored for anything like this kind of money. And this one’s ready to go.
A Us-market car, the UK restorer decided not to convert to right-hand drive
Grey leather trim is period-correct – Rexine was standard
Overhead valve in-line four is believed to have been gas-flowed